A friend of mine said something to me last night that was a good reminder of a profound truth. He said (paraphrasing), "God has been so gracious to you. You can do everything right and still be a mess. But God has been gracious to you." In the past 20+ months, I have tried to do everything right in my grieving process.
1. Choosing not to dwell on "What if" questions
2. Believing in Jesus' victory over death and claiming that victory in my heart for Midi and Nathan
3. Clinging to Jesus in prayer
4. Soaking in and meditating on words of truth and hope from the Holy Scriptures
5. Going naked before God with all of my grief and pain, trusting that He would meet me and comfort me
6. Allowing others into my grief, even if they cannot fathom the depths of my pain, so that they could cry with me and lift me up to the Lord
7. Not allowing self-pity to cause me to withdraw from others or minimize their own pain and struggles
8. Not medicating my pain with drugs, alcohol, television, food, or other mind-numbing distractions
9. Choosing to love others and believing that doing so allows me to experience God's love for me more deeply
10. Clinging to and declaring the hope of the resurrection; that in the New Earth there will be no more tears, death, mourning, crying, pain. And that God is making all things new (Rev 21.5-6)
11. Embracing my life as a stranger and exile seeking a homeland (Heb 11.13-14)
12. Comforting others as I have been comforted (2 Cor 1.3-5)
13. Being grateful to God for marriage with Midi and her imprint on my life. Being grateful to god for the unique and special gift that Nathan was to me.
14. Understanding that self-entitlement is the enemy of gratitude. You can't be grateful for something you think you deserve.
15. Trusting that God is good: yesterday, today, and every day
16. Not taking any shortcuts or settling for healing on the surface
17. Asking for and receiving counsel for major decisions
18. Repenting often when unbelief and self-pity creep into my heart
And yet, my friend reminded me that though I have chosen and believed rightly throughout my grieving process, it is God alone who has met me and brought me to the place of healing and faith that I am at now. It is true. It is very possible that despite doing all the right things, I could still be a heaping mess, unable to receive comfort or consolation from God. So the general truth for all of us is that we could do everything right (and we should try), but the blessings bestowed on us as a result are from God alone. And we should be grateful. Let he who has eyes to see, see. Let he who has ears to hear, hear.